Saturation Diving, Helium Valves, and “Extreme” Dive Watches

In this installment in our series on the basics of divers’ replica watches, we explain why some dive replica watches have built-in helium-release valves and why others don’t. We also explain why each type is perfectly OK, depending on the type of diving you do.

Comparing “diving” as most people know it to “saturation diving” is a bit like comparing an amateur bicyclist to a professional construction worker. They might share the same environment and the same need to breathe, but other than that, they are in fact doing quite different things (this applies to most types of diving, by the way). Saturation diving (meaning the diver’s tissues have absorbed the maximum of gas possible) was practically explored at the end of the 1930s in order to (A.) reduce a diver’s risk of decompression sickness when (B.) working at great depth for (C.) long periods of time — in other words, to increase both effectiveness and safety. read more

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Borrowed Time: Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel

I’ve long admired the look of the Blacksteel models and finally had a chance to wear one of these pieces for a few weeks recently. Even better, the model I received for review was from one of Breitling’s most iconic and historically significant collections, the Chronomat, in its big-but-not-oversized 44-mm version.

Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel - Front_2

By way of background, the modern version of the Breitling Chronomat debuted in 1984, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Breitling company. It was a descendant of one of Breitling’s most significant milestone timepieces, the original Chronomat, which debuted in 1941 and featured the now-famous circular slide rule bezel, a common element of today’s Breitling Navitimer replica watches, though not one present on today’s Chronomats. The 1984 revamped version introduced the hallmark “rider tabs” at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock on the unidirectional ratcheting bezel. And while I do appreciate the Navitimer in its many versions, one of the aspects I like about the Chronomat is the relative simplicity of its tricompax dial in comparison to the “busier” look of the Navitimer. read more

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WatchTime’s March-April Issue Is On Sale Now!

WatchTime April 2017 IssueThe March-April 2017 issue of WatchTime is on newsstands now (and also available in our online shop), featuring reviews of the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph, and TAG Heuer Monza; a tour of Grand Seiko’s watchmaking studios; a pilots’ watch face-off between IWC and Breitling, and more.

Scroll down for highlights from the issue:

  • Tudor added a new bronze model to its Heritage Black Bay collection in 2016. Like its predecessors, this dive watch dips into history with a material that appeals to contemporary tastes. In our cover story, “Modern Heritage,” Martina Richter conducts an extensive test of this popular watch (with an additional wrist review from yours truly), which features original photos by OK-Photography.
  • The new Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Chronograph continues the brand’s maritime legacy. It’s also the brand’s first chronograph to earn certification as a Master Chronometer. Richter and the OK-Photography team put the watch through its paces in the feature article, “Master of its Class.”
  • In 1976, TAG Heuer introduced its Monza model, named for the world famous Italian Formula 1 racetrack. Forty years later, the Monza Calibre 17 recalls the glory days of racing while offering a great deal more than retro design. Alexander Krupp goes under the hood of this “Retro Racer” in this in-depth watch test featuring more original photos from OK-Photography.
  • In “Seiko’s Grand Tour,” Roger Ruegger journeys to Japan to visit to Seiko’s watch studios in Shizukuishi and Shiojiri, the two watch-producing facilities within the Seiko Group responsible for the manufacturing of Grand Seiko replica watches. He also interviews Shinji Hattori, president and CEO of Seiko Watch Corporation, about the future of Credor, Grand Seiko, the newly launched Presage collection — and his own favorite watch.
  • In “Flight Fight,” two watch brands strongly associated with aviation, IWC and Breitling, duel for horological supremacy in the air. Writer Jens Koch looks at icons such as IWC’s original Big Pilot’s Watch and Breitling’s Navitimer, as well as modern classics like the Big Pilots’s Watch Annual Calendar “Le Petit Prince” and Breitling Avenger Hurricane.

Plus: a comparative review of three bi-compax chronographs from Alpina, Bell & Ross, and Union Glashutte; a run-down of Patek Philippe’s “everyday utility” complications; a look back on the history and watch-world contributions of the Rado brand; Editor-at-Large Joe Thompson’s report on Montblanc CEO Jérôme Lambert’s new role at Richemont; and more. read more

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Seiko: A Chronograph Chronology

We survey Seiko’s half-century-plus of mechanical chronographs in this comprehensive historical feature from the WatchTime archives. Scroll down to discover the Japanese brand’s contributions to the world of chronograph wristwatches.

CALIBER 5719: JAPAN’S FIRST WRIST CHRONOGRAPH
When Seiko set out to design Japan’s first wristwatch chronograph, its goal was to produce a watch that was as much status symbol as timing device. Suwa Seikosha, i.e., Seiko’s factory in the city of Suwa, developed the watch, which was launched in time for the 1964 Summer Olympics. It was powered by the 12-ligne, hand-wound Caliber 5719. The salient features of this 6.1-mm-thick movement included a single button to trigger the chronograph’s functions, horizontal coupling, and a column wheel to control the start, stop and return-to-zero functions. The balance was paced at 5.5 hertz, or 39,600 vph. With the chronograph mechanism switched on, the movement would run for 38 hours. The case was made of steel and was 38.2 mm in  diameter and 11.2 mm thick. read more

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The Baselworld Watch Fair: 10 Things to Know

In the coming days, you’ll be reading quite a bit about Baselworld. What is Baselworld, exactly? Why is it so important? What happens there? Can I go? For the answers to these and more questions, read on. We’ve put together a list of 10 watch-centric FAQs, complete with images taken inside and outside the main hall, so you’ll have all the basic facts about the huge show that gets under way this week.   

1. What is Baselworld? 

Baselworld, sometimes called the Basel Fair, is the world’s largest watch-and-jewelry trade show. For 2017, the show runs March 23 to 30th, and as you might guess, it’s in Basel, Switzerland. read more

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Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante Takes Flight

Breitling pens the latest chapter in its prestigious history of aviation-inspired chronograph replica watches at Baselworld 2017 this week, with the launch of the new Navitimer Rattrapante, which features the brand’s first in-house-made, split-seconds chronograph movement.

Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante -Gold Case - Front
Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante -Gold Case – Front

The watch’s movement, Breitling Caliber B03, fittingly makes its debut inside the case of the Navitimer, one of Breitling’s most iconic models. It continues the company’s industry-influencing historical role in the field of mechanical chronographs, which includes such milestones as the first chronograph with an independent push-piece, in 1915; the first with a second independent push-piece, in 1934; one of the first self-winding chronograph movements, in the pivotal year of 1969; and the development of the classic Duograph in 1944, a highly collectible piece with an extra-thin split-seconds chrono movement, which could be considered this new model’s spiritual ancestor. read more

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